The English Colonies in the Eighteenth Century, 1689-1763

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The English Colonies in the Eighteenth Century, 1689-1763

0Learning Objectives

After you read and analyze this chapter, you should be able to:

10. Compare and contrast the regional economies of British North America and analyze where new immigrants could most hope to prosper.

20. Describe regional differences in settlement patterns, family structure, labor systems, and cultural adaptation and explain why they arose.

30. Indicate which Enlightenment concepts and philosophical theories took root in the American colonies and which significant new ideas and institutions were stimulated by the Great Awakening.

40. Describe the structures of government in the colonies, explain why the governors failed to exercise much power, and analyze how Englishmen and colonials portrayed the role and power of the colonial assemblies differently.

0Chapter Outline0

I0. The English Transatlantic Communities of Trade

A0. Regions of Commerce

10. England’s colonies were divided into five distinct regional economies and a backcountry economy.

a0) Britain’s Caribbean possessions produced sugar.

b0) The Lower South produced rice.

c0) The Chesapeake economy centered on tobacco.

d0) New England concentrated on fishing, timber, shipbuilding, and international commerce.

e0) The Middle Colonies focused on wheat and overseas trade.

f0) The backcountry had a subsistence-level economy.

B0. The Cords of Commercial Empire

10. The colonies traded abroad widely.

a0) The majority of their trade was with England.

20. The colonies also traded extensively with each other.

II0. Community and World in Colonial Society

A0. The Emergence of the “Yankee”

10. A wealthy merchant elite arose in the seaport towns by the end of the seventeenth century.

a0) Although economic success replaced older values, older attitudes toward education remained.

20. Land became scarce in the eighteenth century.

a0) New Englanders moved to new farming regions or to commercial centers.

b0) New immigrants avoided settling in New England.

B0. Planter Society and Slavery

10. Until the 1680s, much of the population consisted of indentured male servants engaged to work in the tobacco fields.

20. In the 1860s, however, the drawbacks to African slavery began to vanish.

a0) Mortality rates fell in the Chesapeake.

b0) The Dutch monopoly on the slave trade was broken by the English and competition among English slavers drove prices down and ensured a steady supply of slaves.

c0) The prosperity of the region depended on slave labor.

C0. Slave Experience and Slave Culture

10. The transit from Africa to North America was a brutal experience, especially on the middle passage.

20. Isolation on small plantations and continual new arrivals on larger ones made it difficult for a distinctive slave culture to emerge.

D0. The Urban Culture of the Middle Colonies

10. The urban life of New York City and Philadelphia was what made the Middle Colonies distinctive.

a0) Urban problems included overcrowding, disease, and crime.

b0) Varied opportunities for employment were their major attraction.

20. The highest concentration of African Americans in the northern colonies lived in New York City.

a0) Urban racial tension took the form of fear of slave uprisings and led to great violence.

E0. Life in the Backcountry

10. Demographer Thomas Malthus believed the eighteenth-century population explosion in the English mainland colonies was “without parallel in history.”

20. Most immigrants in the eighteenth century settled in the backcountry.

a0) They were joined there by the sons of older families in the East, who were searching for land.

III0. Conflicts Among the Colonists

A0. Slave Revolts, North and South

10. Slave owners lived in fear of revolts.

a0) The odds against a successful uprising were high, and few slave rebellions occurred; the Stono Rebellion was the most famous that did.

B0. Clashes Between the Rich and the Poor

10. Backcountry inhabitants were often in conflict with colonial governments.

a0) Disputes over Indian policy gave rise to conflict, as in the case of Pennsylvania’s Paxton Boys.

b0) South Carolina’s Regulators objected to insufficient government services in the backcountry.

c0) North Carolina’s Regulators began an armed rebellion because of corrupt government officials.

IV0. Reason and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Colonial Society

A0. The Impact of the Enlightenment

10. American colonists were influenced by the ideas of the European Enlightenment, which stressed reason and progress.

a0) Some were drawn to deism.

b0) Many accepted John Locke’s social contract theory.

B0. Religion and the Religious Institutions

10. Religious toleration grew as the number of Protestant sects in the colonies increased.

a0) Toleration did not extend to Catholics.

b0) Toleration was not defined as separation of church and state; established churches remained.

20. Indifference to religion also grew.

a0) Women, however, tended to remain more involved in the churches.

C0. The Great Awakening

10. This movement for religious revival stressed the importance of fiery preaching.

a0) The greatest preaching of all was that by the visiting George Whitefield.

20. The revival movement caused conflict in colonial society.

a0) More traditional clergymen and the wealthy resented attacks on them, controversies broke out within churches and denominations, and religious affiliation often translated into political positions and to class tensions.

30. New colleges were established.

V0. Government and Politics in the Mainland Colonies

A0. Imperial Institutions and Policies

10. Reorganization of the British Empire in 1696 resulted in the creation of the Board of Trade.

a0) In reality, authority over the colonies remained divided among many agencies in the British government.

20. The British government’s policy for the colonies was one of salutary neglect.

B0. Local Colonial Government

10. Each colony had the same governing structure: a governor, a council, and a representative elected assembly.

20. Governors possessed extensive authority but often could not exercise it.

a0) The assemblies paid the governors’ salaries, among other reasons for their weakness.

30. The assemblies continually broadened their powers.

a0) The members had the advantage of being from a small, intimate, and permanent elite.

C0. Conflicting Views of the Assemblies

10. English authorities and colonists had very different ideas about the powers of colonial assemblies.

a0) The colonists saw a two-level system: England responsible for the British Empire and the colonial assemblies responsible for local government.

b0) The English saw only a single system: the king and Parliament were supreme in everything.

VI0. North America and the Struggle for Empire

A0. Indian Alliances and Rivalries

10. Many Indian tribes had formed alliances with colonists to assist the newcomers, protect themselves and advance their own interests, or defeat local rivals.

a0) Imperial rivalries, however, often took precedence over alliances with European newcomers.

B0. An Age of Imperial Warfare

10. The first four wars (of five) fought by England, France, and Spain angered the American colonists.

a0) Serious hostilities occurred in North America, but the only outcomes were taxes, inflation, impressment of colonial sailors, and greater commercial regulation.
C0. The Great War for Empire

10. Worldwide conflict between England and France began in 1754 and lasted until 1763.

a0) In the war’s North American theater, the French and their Indian allies attacked deeply into English territory.

b0) Britain eventually counterattacked in Canada and defeated the French at Quebec.

c0) All of New France fell to the English in 1760 with the capture of Montreal.

D0. The Outcomes of the Great War for Empire

10. France lost most of her possessions around the world.

a0) In North America, France ceded Canada to the British.

20. England emerged from war deeply in debt.

30. Mutual suspicion split the American colonists and the British.

a0) The Americans had continued to trade with the French during the war.

b0) The British military had behaved arrogantly, seized colonial goods, and quartered troops at colonial expense.


Identify the following items and explain the significance of each. While you should include any relevant historical terms, using your own words to write these definitions will help you better remember these items for your next exam.

10. Eliza Lucas Pinckney

20. religious revival

30. Yankee

40. alma mater

50. discrimination

60. seasoning

70. middle passage

80. urban

90. apprentice

100. milliner

110. manumit

120. demographics

130. Scots-Irish

140. Stono Rebellion

150. Paxton Boys

160. Regulators

170. Enlightenment

180. philosophe

190. deism

200. social contract

210. Trinity

220. established church

230. Congregationalism

240. charismatic

250. itinerant

260. Great Awakening

270. George Whitefield

280. denomination

290. proprietor

300. insubordination

310. sovereignty

320. salutary neglect

330. enumerate

340. corporate colony

350. bureaucrat

360. power of the purse

370. deference

380. oratorical

390. ad hoc

400. Creek Confederacy

410. Great War for Empire

420. Treaty of Paris

0Multiple-Choice Questions

Select the correct answer.

10. The economies of most of the English colonies revolved around

a0. fishing.

b0. manufacturing.

c0. agriculture.

d0. mining.

20. Backcountry regions throughout colonial North America

a0. produced large crops for export to England.

b0. traded extensively with the Spanish Empire.

c0. had a low-level subsistence economy.

d0. produced precious metals in competition with the gold and silver mines of the Spanish Empire.

30. In New England during the eighteenth century,

a0. scarce land impelled many to move farther west or to commercial centers in the region.

b0. slavery increased dramatically in importance.

c0. farming declined in favor of the logging industry.

d0. a surge of new immigration depressed labor costs.

40. Slavery increased in the South after 1680 because

a0. fear of slave rebellions dramatically declined.

b0. French slave companies aggressively marketed more Africans.

c0. the supply of indentured servants fell off.

d0. Virginia shifted from subsistence agriculture to tobacco growing.

50. Few cities developed in the Chesapeake region because

a0. it was a depressed, poverty-stricken area.

b0. merchants did not settle there.

c0. it was too warm for dense settlement.

d0. legislation there imposed high taxes on urban development.

60. Slaves in the Lower South were more readily able to develop their own culture than those in the Chesapeake because

a0. their owners permitted it.

b0. they were concentrated in large numbers on plantations.

c0. their life span was longer.

d0. All of these

70. The Stono Rebellion in 1739

a0. was one of the revolts by indentured servants in American history.

b0. pitted a planter aristocracy against backcountry farmers.

c0. existed mostly in the paranoid imagination of southern whites.

d0. convinced southern whites that the possibility of slave uprisings was high.

80. The Middle Colonies were distinguished by

a0. the absence of conflict with the backcountry.

b0. disinterest in the theories of John Locke.

c0. escaping harm in the French and Indian War.

d0. the dynamic urban life of New York City and Philadelphia.

90. According to social contract theory,

a0. business contracts can always be altered if both parties agree.

b0. people have a right to rebel if the government violates their natural rights.

c0. a monarch has a “contract” with God to rule on earth.

d0. government should provide social services for a community’s citizens.

100. “A wonderful power was in the room and with one accord they began to cry out and weep most bitterly for the space of half an hour. Some of the people were . . . crying to God for mercy.” This quotation is a description of a Great Awakening sermon preached by a(n)

a0. Old Side Congregationalist.

b0. Old Side Presbyterian.

c0. Methodist.

d0. deist.

110. Colonial assemblies tended to

a0. take a dim view of slavery.

b0. be dominated by generations of elite families.

c0. promote a spirit of egalitarianism and democracy.

d0. liberally pay the governors.

120. The growth of Protestant sects and denominations in colonial America led to

a0. the growth of the concept of religious toleration.

b0. equality for Catholics.

c0. an end to established churches.

d0. a surge in religious participation and attendance at church services.

130. The policy of salutary neglect meant that England

a0. centralized all authority for administering the colonies.

b0. abolished the Board of Trade.

c0. decided that London would pay the royal governors.

d0. permitted relaxed enforcement of a great many laws and regulations.

140. What Europeans called the Seven Years’ War the colonists were more likely to call

a0. the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

b0. Queen Anne’s War.

c0. the French and Indian War.

d0. King George’s War.

150. The Great War for Empire

a0. ended with Britain victorious everywhere over France.

b0. led to the expulsion of the Spanish from the Western Hemisphere.

c0. removed the Iroquois League as a threat to the American colonists.

d0. brought Britain and the colonies closer together than ever before.

0Essay Questions

10. Internally, the American colonies during the eighteenth century were anything but calm places. Describe the issues that created tension within colonial America and provide examples of how they sometimes boiled over in open conflict.

DEVELOPING YOUR ANSWER: The presence of large slave populations made white colonists fearful of slave uprisings. To keep the slaves under control, slave patrols guarded the roads, and brutal punishments were meted out in the southern colonies. Although the odds against successful uprisings were great, several uprisings did occur—and not just in the southern colonies. Examples are the slave plot of 1712 in New York City and South Carolina’s Stono Rebellion in 1739. You could also discuss the repression in New York City in 1741 that followed rumors of a slave conspiracy.

Tension between settlers in the backcountry and colonial governments in the East also existed, arising frequently around the issue of what to do about the Indians along the frontier, but also because of corrupt government officials and insufficient government services. Open conflicts between East and West erupted in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina, each of which you should describe and analyze.

You might also discuss the different kinds of controversies that occurred because of the Great Awakening.

20. Suppose for a moment that the British government decided to abandon its policy of “salutary neglect” and to assert greater control over the American colonies. Explain why the colonial governors would have had a hard time implementing the new policy.

DEVELOPING YOUR ANSWER: Although on paper the colonial governors had broad powers, in reality they were weak. Their written instructions often limited them. They were often men of little ability. They were unable to use patronage in order to exercise control. Worst of all, the governors were under the thumb of the assemblies because the latter paid their salaries.

You should also explain that colonial political leaders belonged to a small elite whose members knew each other. The governors had little chance of cracking open this “fraternity” and taking control.

30. While the colonies shared many experiences, they also differed greatly. Compare and contrast them in as many areas as possible.

DEVELOPING YOUR ANSWER: The question requires that you explain what similarities existed. Items you can explore include fear of slave uprisings; insufficient land for newcomers and the younger generation, forcing many to settle in the backcountry; conflicts between western settlers and colonial governments; the Great Awakening; and the colonists’ view of their assemblies.

Contrasts include very different economies; residence in towns in New England but scattered rural settlement elsewhere; planter elites in some colonies; and greater reliance on slavery in some colonies.

40. Before the controversies that preceded the American Revolution (1763-1776), the English colonists did not question Britain’s right to rule them. The seeds of rebellion, however, were probably present long before. Do you agree?

DEVELOPING YOUR ANSWER: The colonists absorbed John Locke’s theory of the social contract during the eighteenth century, which included the idea that people have the right to rebel against a government that tramples on their natural rights.

Aside from theory, actual experience made the colonists assertive when it came to political issues. The most prominent example is their insistence on controlling the governors, something that was possible because the assemblies set their salaries. Moreover, their experiences during the Great Awakening—arguing, debating, and opposing established authorities like the traditional ministers—imparted habits conducive to standing up for their rights and for what they believed in.

The colonists’ view of their assemblies also made them assertive. In claiming supreme authority for the assemblies in local matters, they already were indicating opposition to the British claim that the assemblies were subordinate to the king and Parliament.

0Map Exercises

10. To analyze the regional distribution of different ethnic groups in colonial America, consult the Chapter 4 opening map. Why did English immigrants concentrate where they did, and why did immigrants from Germany and Ireland tend to settle elsewhere? Why were the Dutch concentrated in one particular area?

20. Why were Native Americans in the northeast prone to becoming involved in the struggles for empire that engulfed North America in the eighteenth century? Consult Maps 4.1 and 4.2 in order to explain this development.

0Individual Choices

0Eliza Lucas Pinckney

To answer the following questions, consult the Individual Choices section at the beginning of the chapter.

10. What happened to Eliza Lucas when she was 16? Was her situation unique? Why or why not?

20. Was she successful in her management of the plantation? What accounted for this success or lack thereof?

30. What is the best source of information we have about Eliza and her life and work? Could you use the same type of source to document life today? Why or why not?

40. How did Eliza’s work affect her interest in marriage? Did she differ from her contemporaries? Why or why not? Would you have made the same choice in your personal life if you were Eliza? Why or why not?

50. How did history “repeat itself” during Eliza’s life? Does this surprise you? Why or why not?

0Individual Voices

0Examining a Primary Source: Eliza Lucas Challenges Traditional Plantation Life

To answer the following questions, consult the Individual Voices section at the end of the chapter.

10. What is a patriarchal society and why is that significant to this discussion?

20. Why was Elizabeth Lucas unique?

30. Explain what is meant by her “demanding schedule.” How does it differ from your schedule?

40. What do her comments tell you about race relations on her plantation?

50. Do you think the men of the period spent the same amount of time devoted to learning?

60. What arguments could be raised against the program to educate slaves? What benefits might come from the education of slaves?

70. Eliza is clearly proud of her latest moneymaking project, yet she doesn’t want to go into too much detail about her plans to her friend. What reason does she give for this hesitancy? Would you feel the same way? Why or why not?

Answers to Multiple-Choice Questions

1. c. South Carolina and Georgia produced rice and indigo, the Chesapeake colonies grew tobacco and wheat, and the Middle Colonies produced wheat. See pages 89-92.

a. Fisheries were of economic significance only in New England. See pages 89-92.

b. None of the colonies possessed an industrial capacity. See pages 89-92.

d. This was of no economic significance in any of the colonies. See pages 89-92.

2. c. From north to south, the frontier region produced just enough for survival. See page 90.

a. For the subsistence economy of the backcountry, see page 90.

b. See page 90.

d. See page 90.

3. a. See pages 92-93.

b. See pages 92-93.

c. See pages 92-93.

d. Scarcity of land and urban poverty diverted new immigrants away from New England. See pages 92-93.

4. c. See page 94.

a. Fear of slave rebellions was a constant preoccupation, well into the next century. See pages 96-97.

b. See page 94.

d. Virginia had raised tobacco from the beginning of its existence early in the century. See pages 94-95.

5. b. The population there imported goods directly from England and had little need for merchants who were intermediaries. See pages 98-99.

a. While there were poor people, there was also a prosperous slaveowning class. See pages 98-99.

c. There is no evidence for this. See pages 98-99.

d. There is no evidence for this. See pages 98-99.

6. b. Isolated there in large numbers, they were more able to develop their own culture. See page 96.

a. It was the absence of their owners that counted. See pages 95-97.

c. There is no evidence for this. See pages 95-97.

d. Only 6b is correct. See pages 95-97.

7. d. This uprising resulted in actual deaths among white settlers. See pages 99-100.

a. Rather than a revolt by indentured servants, the Stono Rebellion was a revolt by slaves. See pages 99-100.

b. The revolt in no way resembled Bacon’s Rebellion. See pages 99-100.

c. The Stono Rebellion was very real. See pages 99-100.

8. d. See pages 95-98.

a. The rebellion by the Paxton Boys in Pennsylvania demonstrated that conflict between the East and the backcountry existed in the Middle Colonies. See page 101.

b. Locke’s ideas were widely accepted throughout all of the colonies. See page 102.

c. The colony of New York suffered from attacks by the French and their Indian allies. Albany, New York, was threatened. See pages 110-112.

9. b. Social contract theory justified revolution. See page 102.

a. Social contract theory defined the limits of government’s power; it had nothing to do with business law. See page 102.

c. In social contract theory, a government’s right to rule is derived from the consent of the people and not from God. See page 102.

d. This twentieth-century idea was not part of Locke’s social contract theory. See page 102.

10. c. The quotation describes the passion associated with the Great Awakening, and George Whitefield, its author, was associated with Methodism. Followers of the Great Awakening often joined the Methodists. See pages 102-104.

a. The term “Old Side” connoted opposition to the Great Awakening. See pages 102-104.

b. For the reason given in 10a. See pages 102-104.

d. Deists were not involved with religious movements like the Great Awakening, although like Benjamin Franklin, they could be moved by its preaching. See pages 102-104.

11. b. This gave the assemblies an advantage over the colonial governors because it made its members into a cohesive group. See pages 105-107.

a. Opposition to slavery did not develop during the Colonial Era of American history. See pages 105-107 for what primarily concerned the assemblies: their power in the British imperial system.

c. If anything, they benefited from the colonial tradition of deference to members of the elite. See pages 105-107.

d. The assemblies sought to constrain the power of the governor, doing so mainly by controlling his salary. See pages 105-107.

12. a. See pages 102-103.

b. Catholics could not vote or hold office in any colony. See pages 102-103.

c. They continued in the southern colonies, in Connecticut, and in Massachusetts. See pages 102-103.

d. The numbers that did not participate actually grew. See pages 102-103.

13. d. Salutary neglect meant that the colonies were largely left alone. See page 105.

a. See page 105.

b. See page 105.

c. The colonial assemblies always had this power. See pages 105-107.

14. c. It received this name because the English fought not only the French but also their Indian allies. See page 113 (Table 4.1).

a. See page 113 (Table 4.1).

b. See page 113 (Table 4.1).

d. See page 113 (Table 4.1).

15. a. England triumphed over France in North America, India, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. See pages 110-113.

b. It was the French who were expelled from virtually all of North America. See pages 110-113.

c. The Iroquois were allied with the English. See pages 110-113.

d. The war drove a wedge between the English and the colonies. Each resented the actions of the other during the war. See pages 110-113.

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